FT joins rival to launch Russian newspaper

THE Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, the bitter rivals of the business newspaper world, have agreed to join forces in order to launch a Russian-language business paper.

Pearson and Dow Jones, the media groups which own the FT and the Wall Street Journal, respectively, have formed a joint venture with Independent Media, a Russian publishing house, to launch the paper.

The new paper, which has not yet been given a title, will be launched in August and will publish every day except Sunday and Monday. It will have a dedicated staff of 20 to produce Russian news, while international news will be drawn from the FT and WSJ and translated into Russian.

The paper is aiming for an initial circulation of about 20,000, mainly in Moscow and St Petersburg, rising to 30,000 over the next three to four years. Industry analysts said the venture was likely to cost its investors about $10m to set up.

Both Pearson and Dow Jones have been looking at how to break into the Russian market, and both are understood to have approached Independent Media separately about setting up a joint venture. A joint venture between the FT and Izvestia, the Russian newspaper, broke down late last year.

Pearson owns papers in France and Spain and recently announced plans to set up a new paper in Germany. Karen Elliott House, president of Dow Jones' international group, said the publication would be Russia's only truly independent business newspaper.

The new paper will be edited by Leonid Bershidsky, currently business editor of the Moscow Times. Senior editors from the FT and the WSJ will help select the paper's editorial content.